Photo: Freddie De Los Santos competes in the 2021 U.S. Paralympics Cycling Open in Huntsville. (Huntsville/Madison County Chamber)
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (February 2, 2022) – The Huntsville/Madison County community is excited to announce that U.S. Paralympics Cycling will return to the Rocket City for a second year, bringing approximately 150 to 200 athletes for three exciting days of racing this spring. The U.S. Paralympics Cycling Open, presented by Toyota, will take place in two locations in Huntsville April 8-10, 2022.
“Huntsville is honored that these athletes are returning after a thrilling event last year. They are incredible competitors — we enjoyed hosting them and cheering them on, and we look forward to having them back for another world-class event,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle.
Last year’s competition featured two days of racing in Cummings Research Park (CRP), the second-largest research park in the nation and fourth largest in the world. We will return there for time trials and road races, but race planners are adding something new for the Rocket City this year: hand-cycle team relays in downtown Huntsville! This will pit nation against nation, racing around Big Spring Park. Think U.S. vs. Canada, Mexico, and more — you don’t want to miss this! All three days of racing are open to the public and no tickets are needed. The events are rain or shine.
Here’s what to expect on the three event days:
- Friday, April 8: Hand-cycle Relays around Big Spring Park, downtown
- Saturday, April 9: Time Trials in Cummings Research Park
- Sunday, April 10: Road Races in Cummings Research Park
Nationally, Toyota is proud to partner with U.S. Paralympics Cycling, and we are thrilled to announce that the company will once again present the U.S. Paralympics Cycling Open in Huntsville. We would also like to thank our local event sponsors Toyota Alabama, Raytheon Technologies and Phoenix along with the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Huntsville Sports Commission for their support.
“As a proud partner of Team USA and U.S. Paralympics Cycling, we are excited to again extend our Toyota hospitality to the athletes and event staff who will be making the trip to the Rocket City in April,” said Jason Puckett, president of Toyota Alabama. “This event is a wonderful opportunity for the Huntsville community and our Toyota Alabama team members are looking forward to cheering on all the athletes at the U.S. Paralympics Cycling Open.”
The 2021 Para-cycling event was considered a qualifying race for the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, and was somewhat limited due to the pandemic. This year’s event is a C1 classification, open to international athletes. We expect 150-200 athletes and their families and support teams to attend, including athletes from around the United States, neighboring countries and possibly Europe.
“We are so excited to return to Huntsville,” Ian Lawless, director of U.S. Paralympics Cycling, said. “Last April, the entire community welcomed Team USA with open arms and rallied around us as we prepared for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo. This year, we will be eyeing the 2022 World Para-cycling Road World Championships, and the U.S. Paralympics Cycling Open in Huntsville — this time with an international flair — will again be a key part of that journey.”
Many Para athletes who competed in the Rocket City went on to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. A few won medals for Team USA, including Oksana Masters (two golds), Shawn Morelli (gold, silver), and Ryan Pinney (bronze). Many of these athletes told our staff and volunteers they had an incredible visit here.
“We heard several times from the athletes about how friendly Huntsville was,” said Erin Koshut, Executive Director of Cummings Research Park. “They said we rolled out the welcome mat, they loved the weather and seeing the ‘green’ in the springtime, because many traveled from colder climates. They also loved the race route in CRP – they said it was challenging and well put together by the race planners.”
Medalist Sports is again organizing the races, and the team has already visited Huntsville to review different areas for race course options and update discussions about planning and logistics with representatives of the City of Huntsville and Huntsville Police Department. We thank all the groups and organizations who are helping us!
Please check hsvchamber.org/paracycling and cummingsresearchpark.com/paracycling for updates in the coming weeks, and follow Cummings Research Park on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We also have a volunteer interest form posted. We hope to see restrictions eased a bit this year so there will be more opportunities for spectators to interact with the athletes.